Merchants of violence unmasked

Newton Kachepa, the MP for Mudzi North, has been named as being behind the wave of violence that erupted in his constituency after the March 2008 general election won by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party.

After that election, Kachepa led gangs of war veterans, Zanu (PF) youths and so-called war collaborators in terrorising opposition supportersright up to the eve of the discredited one-man June 2008 presidential election. Giver Chiutsi a local councillor, Nhamo Dzevarume Tiger, who comes from Dende Village, Charles Nyamuchingu, and war veterans identified as Karonga, Ngenga, Kamonera and Kambambaira formed the core of Kachepa’s legion of doom. This group received material and logistical support from a certain Mr Moyo who leases a Mazarura shop at Kotwa Growth Point.

Kachepa’s gang operated from four bases-Madzivanhanga, Kondo, Dendera and Nyamuyaruka which essentially were torture camps set up by Zanu (PF) for the sole purpose of terrorising opposition supporters. In two tragic cases, Kachepa led a gang of youths in attacking Mandinde, a well-known MDC-T activist. He was forced to drink a poisonous substance before Chiutsi struck and killed him with an axe. In a related case, Kamonera, a retired soldier and war veteran shot and killed another MDC-T activist Tafadzwa Meza. Both cases were reported to the police but no arrests have been made yet.

Despite committing atrocious crimes in 2008, the majority of those who participated in the terror campaign in Mudzi North have not been arrested andare still heavily involved in Zanu (PF) activities. Recently, Kachepa held a series of meetings in his constituency where people were threatened with unspecified action if they “repeated the mistake of voting for the MDC again”. At one such meeting held on January 12, Kachepa threatened the people saying “Prime Minister and President vakaregererana but kunokuMudzi hatife takakuregererai, tinokurovai” (The Prime Minister and the President have forgiven each other but here in Mudzi we will not forgive you, instead , we will beat you!)

Kachepa also uses these meetings to distribute sacks of seed maize bearing Mugabe’s portrait.

His lieutenants are also still free. Chiutsi is living in Vhombodzi whilst Kambambaira and Karonga are living in Mbudzi Mhondoro with their families. Nhamo Dzevarume Tiger is living in Dendera Nyagupe village with his wife Cecilia and several of his children. The presence of these people in the community keeps the people of Mudzi on edge – more-so as Zanu (PF) has intensified its call for elections recently.

People like Kachepa will do everything in their power to keep Zanu (PF) in government becausethey owe everything they have to their connection with the party. For instance, Kachepa grew up in Vhongodza in Mudzi where he was educated up to junior secondary. He worked as a herd-boy in the mid-80s before becoming a Dip Chairman in 1990. He began to dabble in Zanu (PF) politics where he attracted the backing of party heavyweight Ray Kaukonde.

Kachepa would slaughter cattle to feed people at rallies. He was given a tractor and a plough and received further support from Kaukonde which he used to grow his business and political empires.The other kingpins of violence like Chiutsi, Kambambaira , Karonga, Ngenga and Nhamo Dzevarume Tiger derive their benefits from free farming inputs, beer, food as well as helping themselves to livestock, money and grain donated by the people for events such as Independence Day and the President’s birthday.

Kachepa and his hangers on should take instruction from Sunday Mail columnist, Tafataona Mahoso, who in a story titled, Ngozi and the struggle to revalue African life, surmised that, “because we build and benchmark on a system founded on slavery, theft and greed, husbands become alien to their wives, wives become alien to their husbands, our children quickly become strangers to us”.

Post published in: Politics

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